Congress candidates Rajeev Shukla and Ranjeet Ranjan have been elected unopposed to the Rajya Sabha from Chhattisgarh, officials told news agency PTI on Friday.
Shukla and Ranjan had filed their nomination papers on Tuesday. The two leaders were accompanied by Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel, Congress’ state in-charge P L Punia and some state ministers.
Journalist-turned-politician Rajeev Shukla (63), who hails from Uttar Pradesh, has served as the Rajya Sabha member thrice in the past.
Ranjeet Ranjan is a former Lok Sabha member from Bihar.
The opposition BJP in Chhattisgarh had accused the ruling Congress of betraying and insulting people of the state by nominating candidates from “outside” for the Rajya Sabha polls.
Asked about BJP’s claim, Chief Minister Baghel, had said, “It (BJP) has also fielded leaders from outside their home states. I don’t want to give old examples. The Congress is a national party and has been sending its leaders to the Rajya Sabha from different states. It is not happening for the first time.” “It is true that people were expecting that someone from Chhattisgarh will be nominated, but if it did not happen this time, we will do it next time,” he added.
Of the five Rajya Sabha members from Chhattisgarh, the terms of two – Chhaya Verma (Congress) and Ramvichar Netam (BJP) – will end this month.
The other three Rajya Sabha members from the state are K T S Tulsi, Phulodevi Netam (both of Congress) and Saroj Pandey (BJP).
The main opposition BJP did not field its candidate in view of its low strength in the state Assembly, which constitutes the electoral college for the Rajya Sabha polls.
In the 90-member state Assembly, the Congress has 71 MLAs, the BJP has 14 seats, the JCC (J) has three seats and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) has two members.
(With PTI inputs)